Op-Ed

Join The Escapist's writers and editors each weekday afternoon for an look at the issues important to you.

Op-Ed

The level of discourse online is already considered haphazard enough, so the growth of a medium that discourages crafting reasonable arguments, relishes in off-the-cuff remarks and fosters a one-take mentality of discussion only serves to reinforce the problems that already exist.

Op-Ed

When I was in school, learning grammar and punctuation, handwriting was stressed over typing, and the proper way to format a letter did not begin with downloading a macro. More emphasis was placed on proper checkbook accounting than written communication, but that's not to say I didn't absorb all there was to learn. Rather, it was considered more or less an optional exercise, like joining the Latin club, and just as sexy.

Toady, however, we're back in the 19th Century. People still talk on the phone (or VoIP), but written communication is making a comeback in a big way. Email and IM are the tools of this generation, and web forums and message boards have taken the place of letters to the editor or the million man march. Sadly, our educational system has not caught back up, and many an English teacher is still wringing her hands in frustration over modern man's eschewing of the written word. If only they knew. If only they were web-savvy. Because, honestly, we need them.

Op-Ed

Just under a year ago I wrote my first article for The Escapist, bemoaning the state of story, character and dialogue in gaming, elements almost invariably relegated to the nether regions of planning, somewhere between settling on the audio effects for blood squelching and deciding what hilarious nicknames to give the developers in the end credits.

As a flip-side commemoration to that piece, it's time to offer praise where praise is due. Here then, a little late for the Oscars, is a selection of categories and awards for story and character as arbitrary as Forrest Gump's defeat of Pulp Fiction in 1994. If you have better suggestions, let us know.

Op-Ed

Zeraus writes with the pulse-pounding conviction of his contemporaries, and his switch-backed tale easily covers the complexities of computer hacking and game design. He's set out to tell a tale of startling authenticity about the perils - and triumphs - awaiting us as the internet gaming generation comes of age, and browsing through protected Wi-Fi networks becomes as easy (to some) as surfing channels. He almost pulls it off.

Op-Ed

Last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was the culmination of years of an arms race between the console makers and third-party software publishers. Every year bigger booths, louder music and babe-ier babes cluttered the show floor. Faced with a future of multimillion-dollar booths and an inability to actually conduct business at what was supposed to be a business show, Sony, EA and Microsoft just called it quits. Rather than continue a show without their big spenders, the ESA canceled E3 2007 late last year.

So why, you may be asking yourself, are there not one but two E3 events slated for 2007?

Op-Ed

I feel like one of those PC gamer die-hards complaining about the lack of precision versus the keyboard+mouse combo, and I'm not unaware of the irony. I'm a relatively recent console machine convert, and now play very few games on a PC. But I am apparently still stuck enough in my old ways that a divergence from even the console's relatively loose control scheme has me in a tizzy. Perhaps I should get over myself, but I don't think I'm alone here.

Op-Ed

Maybe what we need is a good old fashioned crisis. Certainly the last one, the great videogame crash of the 1980s, kicked the industry hard enough to recreate itself in the form of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Op-Ed

Shooting is a shallow but delicious pleasure, like chocolate. One chocolate is divine. 30 chocolates make you sick. And firing guns every moment for 20 hours loses its mystique pretty damn quickly, which is one of the reasons every single-player FPS is a lot more fun at the start than at the end.

Op-Ed

As far as recruitment techniques go, it's first-rate, and definitely a departure. As for the iPod, "it's a symbol," says Kern. "In some cases, we're looking for very special purpose people in very special purpose fields, and in another it's a sort of general thing. But ... the message is personalized, and there's also the website. When you go to the website, it's completely dynamic ... custom tuned for you, down to even suggesting a role that we think would be interesting."

Op-Ed

A recurring theme in many of his blog posts is the concept of "brand dilution": Once an intellectual property or brand has made successful contact with the enemy (in this case, you), doing more with the brand runs the danger of weakening it. Games have this problem in spades: Sequels, spin-offs and mediocre ports can lay low even the mightiest of gaming icon.

Op-Ed

Since the last time I played Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007 (Football Manager to those of you in the rest of the world), my knowledge has increased considerably. While I can't make heads or tails of the offside rule yet, I know a lot more about the sport than I did previously, and I felt comfortable upgrading to the full version of Sega/SI's soccer management sim, whereupon I promptly left it to sit for some time, because games should be aged like fine wine.

Op-Ed

Every once in a while, we realize we have nothing to publish on Thursday. This usually happens when we've been too busy playing games to actually write about them. Yes, I know, it's a hard knock life.

Today is one of those days. We could have asked somebody else to write something, or we could have told a long, involved joke about something stupid we did one day and put it up here calling it experiential editorial or something. Instead, we decided to share with you our thoughts on what's currently occupying our non-work hours.

Op-Ed

I don't know precisely when my laptop stopped being a luxury and became a necessity, but like much of the technology that populates my home and office, I am lost when it is missing.

Op-Ed

Blizzard is filing a lawsuit against MDY, creators of WoW Glider. The outcome of the lawsuit could change the way people access games forever.

Op-Ed

Today, I spotted a bit of "reporting" that made my skin crawl. It reminded me of the number one reason that Second Life is getting much more leeway in the press than it should: a lot of the people reporting on it are fiction writers, and are reporting on what they want Second Life to be, not what it actually is.